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Essay on Shine

In: English and Literature

Submitted By deronss
Words 1439
Pages 6
Question: A successful visual or oral text is one in which a director seeks to create new realities and/or fresh perspectives for old ideas.

Undeniably, the visual text Shine is successful because the director, Scott Hicks, seeks to create new realities and fresh perspectives for old ideas such as love. Through his astute concoction of visual techniques such as: lighting and camerawork amidst verbal techniques such as dialogue and music Hicks portrays “…the power of love – both to destroy and to redeem.”

Shine follows the story of a piano virtuoso David Helfgott in his struggle to overcome the adversities caused by his father Peter in order to achieve his own dreams and ambitions of becoming a well-established musician by attending The Royal Academy of Music.

Shine is successful in the sense that the director, Scott Hicks, creates new realities for old ideas such as love by presenting the power of love to destroy. This is an interesting alteration to the old idea because it contravenes our superficial conception that love is completely constructive. The idea of the power of love to destroy is presented through the character of Peter. Peter is a very harsh and abrasive character: he is a Polish immigrant who now lives in Australia and has lived through the atrocities of the Holocaust. As a child he had his family taken away from him and the psychological after-effects of this horrid experiences is evident in his character. Peter is very over-protective of his family and obsessed with keeping his family close to him to fill the void this emotional suffering has caused. His dialogue is a blatant representation of his domineering personality as he constantly reminds his children and even makes them repeat after him that “No one will love you like daddy does.” In another scene, we see a CU shot of Peter behind a barbed wired fence which is a lucid symbol of the prison that he has created for his family to keep him close to him. This is ironic as he believes that “no one will love…” his family like him yet he is destroying his family on his own. A reoccurring motif that symbolizes Peters ignorance and domination were his glasses. We saw close-up shots of his glasses a couple of times but the most memorable scene was after David and Peter fought and David embraced Peter in a hug. During this time, a CU shot of Peter’s glasses revealed intense light shining onto it. This was interesting because the only light that was illuminating the room was a lamp. Hicks did this on purpose to symbolize the fact that Peter was blind and ignorant of everyone else due to his own desperate needs which in turn resulted in tragic outcomes. Hicks showed us the power of love to destroy because he wanted to disseminate the message that contemporary society, just like Peter, is blind to reality. This has a direct link to the teenagers contemporary society and myself personally. Hicks new reality of love through a teenagers perspective has enabled me to gain insight into my own life personally because just like David’s parents, my parents are also immigrants. I am still a teenager and I am trying to find myself amidst all the teenage drama and my parents come from a completely different society meaning that their ideals and values are completely different to mine. It gets very difficult to maintain my own individuality at home because the things I consider to be the norm in my perception is not always the norm for them. My parents, just like Peter, are very over-protective of me due to their previous experiences and inadvertently restrict me from being myself. Because Hicks’ creates these new realities and fresh perspectives about the outmoded idea of love, I am finally able to gain a deeper understanding about the true effects it may have on me as opposed to believing that every form of love is always constructive. Therefore, I believe that Shine is very successful in portraying the old idea of love and teaching us, as viewers, valuable lessons.

Shine is once again successful because the director, Hicks, creates another reality of love having the power to redeem. Contrary to Peters conditional and detrimental love, the character of Gillian represents love in a way that allows David to redeem himself after being destroyed by Peter’s repressive hand. In Gillian’s prelude with David, we witness the fact that Gillian is a clear contrast to Peter. She is accepting of David’s oddities and takes the time to listen to him as opposed to Peter’s abrupt “Get to the point.” Her patience and humbleness is also exemplified in a provocative two-shot with David as they are sitting down and reading newspapers in the bedroom. Another interesting technique about this shot was the framing and character proxemics: the framing was very loose and it seemed like David had a lot of space to breathe. This is a clear contrast to the shots we see David in with Peter where the framing is very tight and in some instances we only see literally half of David’s character in the shot. This symbolizes the fact that David is imprisoned and feels a sense of oppression when he is with his father but with Gillian this is not the case as he is free to be the person he wants to be. The character proxemics was another interesting technique because whenever Peter was in the shot, Hicks ensured that David’s character was always at or near the bottom of the frame which indicated subservience and Peter would always be near the top of the frame, again indicating authority. This notion was juxtaposed in the shots that contained both David and Gillian. Whenever we saw Gillian and David, we saw them both sitting close to each other and in the center of the shot. Gillian always came down to David’s level if he was sitting down. This, to me, symbolizes the fact that David is not insignificant or trapped when he is with Gillian: he is liberated and most importantly, he is an equal being. Hicks’ shrewd approach to the way he utilized the lighting was also very interesting because whenever David was with Gillian, the lighting was very natural and restrained symbolizing the healing process that Gillian has effectuated which was yet another clear juxtaposition to the ominously agitating low key lighting that underlined Peter’s role. another final form of juxtaposition we witnessed was the music. Gillian’s role in the film was underlined by the soaring major chords and string orchestra of Vivaldi’s Nulla in Mundo Pax in Sincera, a lucid contrast to the intensely passionate and menacingly mordant augmented notes of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto Number 3. Form this, Hicks wants us to learn the difference of conditional and unconditional love and what it can do to people. Hicks himself said that Shine is “A story about the power of love, both to destroy and to redeem.” Hicks is certainly successful in portraying a fresh perspective for the old idea of love and as a result the film Shine itself is very successful. Hicks used such a range of ideas and techniques because he wanted us as the viewer to fully understand the difference between conditional love and unconditional love and because of this, I was able to gain a deeper understanding of how people need support. We have all heard of the idiom “Behind every successful man is a woman.” This quote summarizes the lessons I’ve learnt from Shine quite clearly because Hicks has taught me that having support in your life is one of the most important things someone can have. I believe we are all like bridges: if we don’t have the support then we will not prosper and we will fall to our demise. Another key lesson Hicks has taught me is that if you have someone who loves you conditionally, then it is best to let them go because they will destroy you. Nonetheless, amidst all the negativity, there are always people that love unconditionally and will help you to redeem yourself. Therefore, I believe that Shine is a very successful visual text because the director, Hicks, uses the film as a medium to teach us very valuable lessons about life and reality of the negatives and positives of life.

Conclusively, Shine is a successful visual text because the director, Hicks, seeks new realities about the concept of love through the aforementioned techniques and teaches us, the viewer, about the reality of love and life in this process.…...

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